Gonski 2.0 is a shoddy deal for public schools

Education Minister Simon Birmingham
Contributed by a teacher

The new Gonski 2.0 deal has just got through the Senate, thanks to the so called independent cross bench, is not good for the public school system

A $4.9 billion carrot was applied to pull Xenophon and the rest of the crossbenchers into line. This, on top of the $28.6 billion allocation for the next 10 years in the May budget, was used to pretend generosity. It is merely smoke and mirrors. The truth is that there has been a funding cut, in terms of the original Gonski agreement offered. The crossbench has tried to cover its tracks by suggesting that this is better than nothing.

In truth, the government’s allocation is a real funding cut, when matched up against the original Gonski agreement, based on starting to address a long period of inadequate funding.

Gonski 2.0 remains a lemon.

The real funding cut is not the only problem.

The original Gonski recommended a shift of responsibility to the Commonwealth, because it was recognised that the existing system is chaotic, with an inconsistent division of responsibility between the states. This has led to state by state differences in funding outcomes,  as well as the Commonwealth looking after the private school system and the states being left to patch up the public school system. Gonski pushed for an overhaul of this system. Gonski 2.0 will maintain it.

The Catholic education system also faces a funding cut. Although there are different views on whether this is merited or not, it must be said that at least most of the Catholic system’s schools are not privileged and fill up a hole created by decades in insufficient funding to provide a large enough public system to cover all of Australia’s young, especially at the primary level.

For the wealthy private schools, the new deal promises an overall increase of around $1.5 billion, while the public schools miss out on $3 billion.

Allocations for disadvantaged students will not be improved and the process for getting the money is going to be made more difficult and take longer.

Gonski 2.0 fits in with the Turnbull government’s view of education, as a right that should be mainly enjoyed by the richest section of society and used to cement its privilege. This is why resources continue to be funneled in this direction. Having an educated population is not a priority.

It is not good enough. Our young deserve better treatment.

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